Mark Kendrick: We’re kicking tonight off with an appearance from the REIGN Tag Team Champions, RECOGNIZE! Octavian and Brock are already in the ring, microphone in hand.
Maria Madden: If you want some background on these guys, they’ve held the REIGN Tag Team Championships for a whopping 465 days and are currently the longest reigning… heh… champions across either of these two brands.
Mark Kendrick: That’s right, they’ve shut down all comers, and they’ve taken on all challengers, but–
There’s a commotion in the crowd, ramping up enough so that both members of RECOGNIZE turn and take notice. Leaping over the guardrail are two enmascardos, neither of whom look like they’re here to be friends: one of them is the larger of the two, his mask bearing veins of red turning to deep blue. The other, much smaller, dynamite in a small frame, wears light blue gear and a jagged mask. They run and slide into the ring, and the building is buzzing!
Mark Kendrick: Now who is…I’m consulting my notes here, but who is this?!
Maria Madden: Mordida de Escarcha and Sangre Fria! Fresh from Mexico–what the heck are they doing here?!
The larger of the two, who we can assume to be Sangre Fria due to the blood theme in his mask, stands and does nothing. Says nothing. Mordida, however, can be seen yelling something at Brock and Octavian–drawing their attention and allowing Sangre to rush them both! He boots Enright in the face and rides it all the way to the mat with his heel, taking the smaller man off his feet! Holloway lays in a solid punch, but he leaves himself open for a frankly blistering full-speed shotgun dropkick from the smaller luchador!!
Maria Madden: I have no idea why this is happening! I don’t even know if RECOGNIZE have been to Mexico!
Sangre hauls Octavian to sitting, then hits the ropes and DIVES forward, snapping him almost in half with a massive enzui lariat!! Mordida runs, hits the middle rope, springs to the top, and LAUNCHES himself an irresponsible height into the air, rotating backwards and BURYING his feet into Holloway’s chest with a moonsault double stomp!! He hops up and down, waving his arms, clearly feeling the adrenaline as both halves of RECOGNIZE are reeling from the unprompted attack!
Mark Kendrick: I mean…I hate to say it, but you have to respect their chutzpah!
Mordida yells something at Sangre Fria, and the big man calmly walks over to Brock Holloway, hauling him to standing. He hooks him for a suplex and raises him up high, stalling it with one arm as the crowd’s anticipating rises…Mordida de Escarcha bounds from the ropes, and as Sangre brings Brock backwards, he leaps up and settles his knees into the big man’s lower back!! The enmascarados fold Brock Holloway backwards with a combination suplex and lungblower!!
Maria Madden: Folks, we are trying to gain some understanding as well as you are, and I’m not sure any is going to come soon, just that…it’s plain, these two are here to make a statement, and I’m being told that they’ve got a match later tonight!
Mordida casually spits on Holloway and bounds out of the ring, clearing the ropes with a jump that is just a casual display of agility. Sangre Fria looks at the destruction they have wrought, then shrugs and rolls out of the ring, calm as ever. We cut away…
The Patriot Act Vs. Martial Law
Immediately after their match, Maria Madden ducks under the middle rope and into the ring. As their opponents slide out of the ring, Johnny Patriot pats Boyd Walton on the shoulder and pulls him in for a hug. Boyd is obviously disinterested in the hug but doesn’t say anything to Patriot. As Patriot steps back, Maria puts the microphone to her mouth.
Maria Madden: Gentlemen of The Patriot Act, you’ve earned your first win here in REIGN over Martial Law. How are you feeling?!
Patriot looks at Boyd, who slightly nods, giving Patriot permission to speak on behalf of the team. Patriot responds between breaths.
Johnny Patriot: Maria, we couldn’t be more happy, even if it was the Fourth of July and we were at the lake on a pontoon with eight of our closest friends, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and drinking an ice cold American made Budweiser while fireworks go off in the distance.
The fans in the area cheer this love of America.
Johnny Patriot: With a designated boat captain, of course. Drink responsibly, 21 and over only.
The fans in the arena boo this show of responsibility.
Johnny Patriot: But Maria, to be honest with you as always, something has been gnawing at us for the last couple weeks, deep down in the pits of our stomachs.
Boyd looks around quickly, not sure where this is going. He reaches out to Johnny Patriot, trying to stop him, but Johnny brushes him off.
Johnny Patriot: Trust me! I know what I’m doing.
Patriot turns back to the camera.
Johnny Patriot: You see, some time ago those boys in Carolina Lions said something on Spitter that really stuck with me. They called REIGN “developmental”.
The REIGN fans in attendance BOO this statement. Johnny tries to shoosh them.
Johnny Patriot: I know, I know. Boyd knows. Don’t you Boyd.
Boyd just stands behind Patriot, failing to move or show any sort of emotion.
Johnny Patriot: Exactly. REIGN isn’t developmental! REIGN is PRIDE! REIGN is EFFORT! And gosh darn it, REIGN is EXCELLENCE. That’s why, right here, right now, I am doing the one thing America is known for and that’s shooting its shot.
The arena bursts into laughter. Patriot puts his hand on his head. Boyd facepalms. Just as Boyd goes to stop him from talking any more, Patriot continues.
Johnny Patriot: I mean, we declared independence! And as one of the many great faces of the REIGN Tag Team division, we’re calling out those very same Carolina Lions!
Boyd throws up his hands in disbelief.
Boyd Walton: I thought we were calling out the REIGN Champions!
Johnny Patriot: No, Boyd. We want to face the Carolina Lions. We don’t care if it’s before or after the show’s on the air, heck, you can throw us in the parking lot for all we care! Just give us a shot to show those SHOOT Project Tag Team Champions exactly what REIGN stands for!
The SHOOT Tron hums to life as if on cue.
“This thing on? Hello?”
Tapping into a microphone is heard. The fans immediately begin to react in a mixture of boos and cheers as ISAIAH GALLIARD and LUIS DE LEON are…on a screen with smirks on their faces.
Reaper: Okay, we can’t see you people but you can see us and really, that’s the important part here.
Smoke: Hey, REIGN! How are you guys doing down there?
The fans aren’t so mixed anymore, as there are clear boos being heard.
Smoke: I think Boyd or Johnny did something bad in the ring, Isaiah, the fans are booing.
Reaper: Johnny? Hey, Johnny and Boyd? Stop doing stuff. We decided to take the time to talk to you guys so really, can some brothers get some full attention?
Smoke: Remember, we can’t see you guys so we’re assuming everyone is nodding their heads in agreement to what we’re saying.
Reaper: This is so sad but c’est la vie. This is why we call REIGN developmental.
The fans boo yet again.
Reaper: Don’t even get pissy with us, REIGNiacs! We’re just telling you the truth! You think people are at Ruination and Revolution buying Pete Jack shirts?
Smoke shakes his head.
Reaper: Los Demonios action figures?
Smoke shakes his head again.
Reaper: Jamie Johnson sex dolls?
Smoke: …that’s a thing?
Reaper looks at Smoke.
Reaper: I went down a rabbit hole on Etsy the other night, remind me to show you the shit I’ve seen.
He turns back to the camera.
Reaper: But the fact is, guys, nobody in REIGN can run with the big dogs and that’s okay! That’s okay. You’re not supposed to be at this level right now. Johnny, we love you, you know that, but let’s be real here. You haven’t been relevant since that one run you had with Dan Stein and I can’t even remember what the name of the team was. And your pal Boyd? He’s got the charisma of a Colton and maybe half the talent.
Smoke winces in pain. Patriot mouths “MAKE CHA” before Boyd pulls his arm to stop him from acknowledging the comment.
Reaper: But that’s why you’re there in REIGN. To learn. To get better. To one day mean something to the people. To one day be able to challenge the teams that are significantly better at this tag team thing than you. Maybe, just maybe, you can hit that elite level and challenge…oh, I don’t know…us!
The fans in the arena EXPLODE with cheers. Patriot allows Maria to put the microphone back to his mouth. Boyd, however, looks at Patriot and stops Maria from raising the microphone. Johnny nods, allowing Boyd to talk.
Boyd Walton: Yeah! That’s what we want! Patriot Act versus The Carolina Lions! I know you’ve got that big tag team Master of the Mat tournament up on the “big shows”, but if you want to see the real team that should’ve been in the finals of that tournament, you got us! And we won’t back down! No! Just like Floridians, we’ll stand our ground!
The fans look around the arena, a quiet confusion passing over them. Patriot’s turn to facepalm.
Boyd Walton: Uh, I mean-
Isaiah and Luis look at one another. They are perplexed, confused, confuzzled, and concerned.
Reaper: Read the room, Boyd, damn.
Smoke: Or just read and be a step ahead of Florida altogether.
Reaper nods in agreement.
Smoke: Listen, guys. Hey, we here in Carolina Lions, a subsidiary of The Pride, which is a subsidiary of the as-yet-unnamed Black Hawk Brotherhood, patent pending…
He inhales to continue, having said a mouthful.
Smoke: …we aren’t afraid to show our patriotism, our pride, and our respect for this great country of ours. Where else can you have one team of a black kid and a Latino kid talking to a walking American flag and…whatever Boyd is. I mean, it’s enough to put a tear in my eye.
Johnny Patriot: And that’s why we’re friends!
Smoke and Reaper look at each other again, broad smiles crossing their faces.
Reaper: Do we love our country? Yeah. Do we love professional wrestling? Yeah. Do we love tag team wrestling? Oh yeah. So listen, guys. We like Johnny and we don’t want Boyd to talk anymore so how about we give you guys a chance to prove REIGN is more than just…whatever this…all…is.
Smoke: Ooh, do you mean Carolina Lions head down to REIGN and face Patriot Act?
The fans ERUPT at the idea of this.
Reaper: Jesus no. No no no noooo. I want to offer the invitation for Patriot Act to pack a lunch, get the permission slip signed, and come on up to the big leagues and have themselves a lovely REIGN showcase against…us!
Patriot and Boyd look at each other stoically. Then, they nod.
The Patriot Act: We Accept! All we wanted was to make these fans proud. Mark Kendrick! Make it happen!
Smoke: Probably somebody they know in the audience or something, who knows.
Reaper waves it off.
Reaper: Guys, listen. I don’t like the idea of us having to take a backseat to some showcase JUST to give you an in. I also don’t like having to wait for our sad little division to grow up and see who wins this tournament to face us. So here’s what I wanna do. Add to it. Sweeten the deal. You know what I’m thinking, Luis?
Smoke: Hell yeah. Mask versus hair. Let’s go.
The fans let out a collective gasp at the nightmare scenario of Johnny Patriot’s mask even being up for consideration.
Reaper: No! I’m not gonna endanger that old flag like that! Nah, Johnny, Boyd, we’re all friends here. So at this REIGN Showcase match, I want you guys to have the best. For America. So…
He reaches offscreen and shows the SHOOT PROJECT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES. He hands Smoke his and the two of them grin from ear to ear.
Reaper: Let’s put these babies up for y’all.
Smoke nods his head.
Smoke: You go tell Mark whatever his name was, we’ll tell Joshie J on our end…and…I think that’s it, right?
Reaper: All I wanna say.
Smoke: Great! Johnny, Boyd, show the world you ain’t developmental. Or don’t, we don’t care.
Reaper: See you at the show, boys.
The screen instantly goes black, leaving Johnny and Boyd alone in the ring to think about the INSANE challenge that just got laid at their feet.
Sangre Fria & Mordida de Escarcha Vs. SAFEGUARD
Viento Helado Vs. "Texas" Pete Jack
Drakko Vs. El Caballero Blanco
El Simbolo Vs. Jamie Johnson (c)
“One for the Money” continues playing, as Jamie Johnson stands in the ring, exhausted from his near 20-minute victory over a VERY game El Simbolo. He holds the REIGN Championship up and the crowd pops and as he’s handed the microphone, his music dies down.
Mark Kendrick: Jamie’s got something on his mind here.
Maria Madden: Champ wants a mic, champ gets a mic.
Jamie Johnson: First things first… to you, Simbolo, thank you for the match.
He clasps his hands and bows his head to Simbolo, who’s making his way out of the area and back up the ramp. The fans appreciate this gesture and cheer.
Jamie Johnson: Now, to other business… I’ve been thinking. Thinking about REIGN, thinking about its place in this world, thinking about… this championship.
He holds the title up.
Jamie Johnson: Calling this the REIGN Championship has been fitting since REIGN has been sort of the pathway to the SHOOT Project, but with SHOOT Project mainstays showing up here regularly, I thought maybe it was time for a change. You see, I’ve been here for weeks now, the Carolina Lions just showed up tonight to respond to a challenge from former SHOOT Project World Tag Team Champions…
REIGN is really starting to stand on its own.
So, I think it’s time we call this championship what it is, folks. The REIGN World Championship.
And as always… I’ll be here to defend it.
Every. Single. We-
Before he can get his last word out, Jamie Johnson is clipped from behind! The mic falls from his hand and he hits the deck hard! One of the assailants takes to the top rope and flies off, nailing Jamie with a Phoenix Splash! The other pulls him back to his feet and DRILLS the REIGN World Champion with a HARD yakuza kick!
Mark Kendrick: This is Escarcha & Fria,. AGAIN. They JUST attacked the REIGN Tag Team Champions and now they’re here for Jamie Johnson!
Maria Madden: That’s Viento Helado with them too! They ALL made their debuts tonight and they’re looking to make an INSTANT impact.
Fria has Jamie back up. Jamie’s woozy, wobbly. Helado picks up the REIGN World Championship and holds it up for a moment, soaking in the boos from the Los Angeles crowd. Fria shoves Jamie Johnson forward and he gets FLATTENED by Helado, who delivers the championship right to the champion’s face!
Mark Kendrick: Jamie’s out cold! This was a brutal, calculated attack!
Maria Madden: Seems like these guys are out for gold and aren’t afraid of anyone here who might have it!
Mark Kendrick: Gold means control, and–Oh, looks like Helado picked up Jamie’s mic!
Viento Helado: WE… are FURIA INVIERNAL, the Winter’s Fury, and we’re coming to take. Take everything. Change is coming, my children, and it started with those chumps RECGONIZE earlier tonight and it continues… with you.
Viento turns his attention to the fallen champion, who’s laid out at his feet.
Viento Helado: I hear a lot of blah blah from you, campeón. You want to put yourself out here every single week? You want to show up and be a hero, Jamie? I got you, son. Viento Helado… Jamie Johnson…
REIGN World Championship.